Intellectual Acuity

General philosophy discussions. If you are not sure where to place your thread, please post it here. Share favorite quotes, discuss philosophers, and other topics.

Intellectual Acuity

Postby coberst on September 3rd, 2006, 7:19 am 

Intellectual Acuity

I think that reality is multilayered like an onion. We live our life on the surface rarely penetrating the surface of reality. To seek a comprehension beyond the surface requires some kind of intellectual acuity.

Most people are familiar with the arts as a form of intellectual acuity but far fewer have any recognition of self-learning through books as a means of developing an intellectual acuity that can penetrate the surface reality.

What do you think of this opinion?
coberst
Active Member
 
Posts: 1192
Joined: 28 Aug 2006
Blog: View Blog (1)


Intellectual Acuity

Postby Pensive on September 3rd, 2006, 8:45 pm 

"A little knowledge is a dangerous thing."

I think I understand what you mean. But, I think the more deluded people among us are the ones that DO have some measure of intellect and THINK they have it all figured out, so they live the "unexamined life".

More important than knowledge or intellect is values. In considering what makes a good life or a good person I always remind myself of Edith Bunker from "All in the Family". (Apologies to anyone not familiar with this old TV show.) A "dingbat" yes, but was she a good person? Was her life a "good" one? Did her life fit Plato's criteria as a good one?

Me? I know I have to work at both. Why else would I be here? :wink:
Pensive
Forum Neophyte
 
Posts: 8
Joined: 03 Sep 2006
Location: Chicago


Postby Iammyaspectofus on September 16th, 2006, 10:33 pm 

Great posts.
I knew at a young age I wouldn’t work well with mainstream learning techniques of academia and the social languages and conversations that tended to be channeled through them. I did know I wanted to find my answers though.

So I gave up that process in grade school and pursued other avenues of peeling the onion.
I read the onion by reading everyone else peeling it, and as a clairvoyant. Pretty weird eh? I know…
For me it is a direct approach that I can’t screw up like I would through getting lost in the vast distinctions of empirical information modalities.
About a year ago I stumbled onto a philosophy forum while looking at cars online, and realized that some of the philosophers were a weird as me in their views of what is possible. I guesse in my own weird ways, have been studying the same kind of stuff everyone else has. I am almost normal. I think the almost is what makes my little story relevant to both of yours.
Either that or I am wrong, and I hold little claim. What do you guys think?

For me simply noticing where I my intelligence is not acute is the process I use to gather information, and remain plyable to a reality I only hold limited perception of.
User avatar
Iammyaspectofus
Banned User
 
Posts: 142
Joined: 10 Aug 2006
Location: Washington


Re: Intellectual Acuity

Postby Paul Anthony on September 17th, 2006, 12:42 am 

coberst wrote:Intellectual Acuity
...Most people are familiar with the arts as a form of intellectual acuity but far fewer have any recognition of self-learning through books as a means of developing an intellectual acuity that can penetrate the surface reality.


Interesting.

I am not a fan of institutional learning, since it encourages the student to accept the opinions of the instructor as fact. "Self-learning through books" would be preferential as long as the student reads a variety of authors who demonstrate different points of view, otherwise the student is again absorbing pre-packaged concepts without thinking.

The truly educated will have studied the words of others, then contemplated the information, and then drawn his/her own conclusions. Many will not take the time, nor have the courage to challenge the popular notions that the majority believes.

Many are educated, few are intellectual. :)
User avatar
Paul Anthony
Resident Member
 
Posts: 4364
Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Location: Gilbert, AZ
Likes received:4


Postby Iammyaspectofus on September 17th, 2006, 1:24 am 

The bush we are beating around is intellectual acuity, and what we are discussing is each our opinions of what form of intelligence we would wish to talk about with each other.

I am not one that thinks intelligence is broken into forms but in turn is done by us for ways easier of our identifying aspects of it; for thought or conversational purposes.

Sort of like existence isn’t more than one thing but is broken down by us into aspects so we can talk about ourselves within it. LOL

I have always IMHO a bit slower than the “crowd” that I observe as our society, but find my intellectual edge in knowing little or nothing about what I would seek knowledge of n conversation.

To know nothing is to open the possibility of knowing everything.
I guesse that makes me an armchair philosopher eh?

So do you guys define intellect in particular ways consciously?
Do you perceive your own intellectual acuity and how so?
User avatar
Iammyaspectofus
Banned User
 
Posts: 142
Joined: 10 Aug 2006
Location: Washington


Postby coberst on September 17th, 2006, 4:45 am 

In general I read history, science, and light philosophy (I generally do not try to read original stuff but read from a secondary source).

For example I have been trying to understand the meaning of 'understand' for a long time and I think I now have an answer. I will stop the effort but I constantly am prepared to take it up again should something reignite my doubt as to my answer or that I find something that will add to my understanding.

I have been working at understanding "Philosophy in the Flesh" for months and I now feel that I understand the fundamentals of the theory but I will continue to work on 'rounding out' my understanding. I think that this theory defined in this book will become the first paradigm for cognitive science. It is a revolutionary theory that I recommend at every opportunity.

I also have read a bit of Dewey. I like Dewey especially his “Habits and Will” which focuses on the importance of habit in our character development and in our development of an intellectual life. I got started in the matter of understanding while studying empathy. Empathy is a process of imagination constructing something that will help a person to understand another person.
For example one might try to construct in imagination something about the life of a terrorist so as to understand why that person could do such a thing. The caring is associated with the desire to understand because in understanding ones enemy can best combat that enemy.

The terrorist need not be the object of caring. The caring is associated with combating the terrorist. I care enough about fighting terrorism that I will make the effort of empathy.
I do not mean caring to be necessarily or even occasionally associated with caring for the well being of some one. I use the word care to mean that I care about understanding this domain of knowledge.

I am a great fan of CT (Critical Thinking) and the effort to introduce this subject into our schools and colleges. CT is the fundamental requirement for self-actuated learning, I think.


I think that understanding and disinterested knowledge are the two sides of the same coin. I am sure that people on occasion bother to understand a domain of knowledge for reasons other than a desire to understand. Every specialist probably learns to understand his or her specialty and they have been led to do it because it is an instrument serving a career purpose.

I think that a person strives to learn disinterested knowledge because they wish to understand that domain of knowledge. I do not think many people bother to study something that does not have a valuable payoff in money unless it is to understand. I would not learn to “do” calculus except that it is necessary to being an engineer. I would, however, study calculus if it helped me understand mathematics. Every engineer, when asked if s/he could “do” math would respond yes. Every engineer if asked do you understand math would answer quickly, are you kidding me.
Disinterested knowledge is an intrinsic value. Disinterested knowledge is not a means but an end. It is knowledge I seek because I desire to know it. I mean the term 'disinterested knowledge' as similar to 'pure research', as compared to 'applied research'. Pure research seeks to know truth unconnected to any specific application.

I think of the self-learner of disinterested knowledge as driven by curiosity and imagination to understand. The September Scholar seeks to 'see' and then to 'grasp' through intellection directed at understanding the self as well as the world. The knowledge and understanding that is sought by the September Scholar are determined only by personal motivations. It is noteworthy that disinterested knowledge is knowledge I am driven to acquire because it is of dominating interest to me. Because I have such an interest in this disinterested knowledge my adrenaline level rises in anticipation of my voyage of discovery.

We often use the metaphors of 'seeing' for knowing and 'grasping' for understanding. I think these metaphors significantly illuminate the difference between these two forms of intellection. We see much but grasp little. It takes great force to impel us to go beyond seeing to the point of grasping. The force driving us is the strong personal involvement we have to the question that guides our quest. I think it is this inclusion of self-fulfillment, as associated with the question, that makes self-learning so important.

The self-learner of disinterested knowledge is engaged in a single-minded search for understanding. The goal, grasping the 'truth', is generally of insignificant consequence in comparison to the single-minded search. Others must judge the value of the 'truth' discovered by the autodidactic. I suggest that truth, should it be of any universal value, will evolve in a biological fashion when a significant number of pursuers of disinterested knowledge engage in dialogue.

Does Winston Churchill qualify as a man of wisdom? Definitely!

Wisdom means to “see life whole”.

I think that there are at least three forms of intellection: textual intellection is what we do when we reason in text form, artistic intellection is reasoning in artistic form, and practical intellection is what we do in our day-to-day living.

I think that one must acquire a significant degree of understanding in each of these three forms of intellection to qualify for the distinction of “seeing life whole”.

Winston was an accomplished painter, he was a historian with many books to his credit and he was accomplished broadly in practical intellection as he demonstrated in his political career.
coberst
Active Member
 
Posts: 1192
Joined: 28 Aug 2006
Blog: View Blog (1)


Postby Iammyaspectofus on September 17th, 2006, 3:07 pm 

You will have to forgive my lack of literary interest. I have read a very few books in my life; I find my information through other means.

Simplicity is my tendency in communication when I finally do reach a communicable clarity.

Seems to that you are saying in the whole of the thread, that there are two kinds of people.
Those that seek to define themselves as information and sought by seeking to be affected by the mind work of others,
and those that would seek to be the cause of themselves through making their own work primary to their attention yet seamlessly linked to the social network of information made available by all of us.

Am I getting close?
User avatar
Iammyaspectofus
Banned User
 
Posts: 142
Joined: 10 Aug 2006
Location: Washington


Postby coberst on September 17th, 2006, 3:19 pm 

Iammyaspectofus wrote:You will have to forgive my lack of literary interest. I have read a very few books in my life; I find my information through other means.

Simplicity is my tendency in communication when I finally do reach a communicable clarity.

Seems to that you are saying in the whole of the thread, that there are two kinds of people.
Those that seek to define themselves as information and sought by seeking to be affected by the mind work of others,
and those that would seek to be the cause of themselves through making their own work primary to their attention yet seamlessly linked to the social network of information made available by all of us.

Am I getting close?


It seems to me that society needs many people to be knowledgable about many things so that we can begin to comprehend what the world is about and in knowing we can make fewer mistakes. We do very well when knowledge about things are concerned but we are not very good about knowledge about people.
coberst
Active Member
 
Posts: 1192
Joined: 28 Aug 2006
Blog: View Blog (1)


Postby Forest_Dump on September 17th, 2006, 6:29 pm 

Well, I certainly recognise that there can be many kinds of "intellect". Certainly some might fall into the categories of scholarship but others would include ability to read and interact with people, abilities to work with your hands in various ways, ability to convey thoughts (such as in writing, music or art). But these are not necessarily linked - a good writer may not actually be able to come up with good original ideas; great muscians may not be able to write their own original music; great scholars may not be good salesmen, etc.

As to formal education, I admired and respected many very smart people who were entirely self taught. But all strongly encouraged me to go to university. Why? Because a formal education will introduce you to things you probably never would discover in a solid lifetime of self-teaching as well as provide the discipline needed to consider things you may not like to consider. This is every bit as important. I certainly know many self-taught mechanics who can be brilliant with some things. But if they didn't bother to learn about the electrical system or they way the transmission works, then sooner or later that will become a problem. A self- taught doctor might be able to give you a nice tea to make you feel better but will they think to look for the tumour and send you to a surgeon in time to save your life?

Of course four (or up to ten or more if you go on) years of university wiil have its limitations. The idea is not to consider that period of time as a completion of your learning but as a beginning - you should be spending the rest of your life adding on and changing some things. But, you will learn more, if you let yourself, in that time then you possibly could on your own self-taught in the same period of time. If fact, ideally you should be learning the sum of many lives before you that were spent learning. Including how to spot the mistakes and the ones we all make (I find the hardest thing to learn is often self critique). You may find satisfaction reinventing the wheel but me, I would rather see what we can do with it.

BTW, for the first two years of university, I preach dogma - I demand that students accept my opinions and/or that which they get from the text book as gospel (well, perhaps not as much as I should but I try). This rapidly gives them a framework they can work with. In the upper levels, then we look into some of the cracks. In first and second years, they are taught the most recent explanations for Stonehenge taking into account the archaeology of the peoples around at the time. Later they are introduced to other hypotheses such as that fairies floated the stones across land and sea to get them there; that Hoyle thought it was an alien landing pad; and that modern goddess worshippers and other religious types now use it for their own purposes. Of course some will always say I am inserting my own biases into students in these early years. But it takes a lot of work to get them to believe in fairies.
User avatar
Forest_Dump
Forum Moderator
 
Posts: 8007
Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Location: Great Lakes Region
Likes received:6


Postby coberst on September 18th, 2006, 5:07 am 

Forest

All well said!
coberst
Active Member
 
Posts: 1192
Joined: 28 Aug 2006
Blog: View Blog (1)



Return to Anything Philosophy

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests